How do alligators breathe underwater?
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Q:

How do alligators breathe underwater?

A:

Quick Answer

Alligators actually don't breathe underwater. Though they can stay submerged for long periods of time, they must eventually surface to breathe through the nostrils on their long snouts.

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Full Answer

Among the many successful adaptations that have allowed alligators to remain largely unchanged over thousands of years is the ability to stay submerged for more than an hour at a time. This ability is aided by the alligator's heart, which slows down when the animal submerges, allowing the body to use oxygen more efficiently. Not breathing in water is essential to the alligator's survival. In fact, this large reptile has adapted nose flaps that clamp shut and block water from entering when the gator dives underwater.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who are alligators scared of?

    A:

    Alligators are apex predators and fear no other animal within their ecosystem, although they are known to be timid around humans. This fear is beneficial for both species and is one reason why humans should not feed alligators, as they may begin to associate humans with food.

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  • Q:

    Where do alligators live?

    A:

    American alligators live in the southeastern portion of the United States, with largest populations residing in Florida and Louisiana. The Chinese alligator is native to China.

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  • Q:

    How do alligators reproduce?

    A:

    Alligators reproduce via internal fertilization, mating at night and eventually laying 35 to 50 eggs in a small pit, which is then covered with a nest of decaying vegetation. About five times as many females are hatched as males after an incubation of 65 days, with the sex of offspring determined by temperature rather than genetic differences. The mother guards the eggs and digs them up as they begin hatching.

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  • Q:

    How do alligators communicate?

    A:

    Alligators communicate with one another by emitting deep, loud roaring sounds that travel as far as 165 yards. When alligators are courting, they release purring coughs, referred to as chumpfs. Baby alligators begin communicating with their mothers while they are still inside their eggs by emitting shrill whining noises to announce their arrival when they are preparing to hatch.

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